Redeeming Gift Cards

I received a number of gift cards for the holidays, and I finally got around to start using some of them. Ah, that spa day was great! (Thanks to my husband for giving me such a thoughtful gift!)

I also received some gift cards for stores that I really don’t go to often, which I’ll discuss a little later.

I know most people get or receive gift cards, so I was curious to see if there was any information on how many people actually use them. I found some fascinating information from

  • Over $100 billion is spent on gift cards annually
  • 93% of U.S. consumers purchase or receive a gift card annually
  • Consumers spend an average of $213 per year on gift cards
  • 72% of customers will spend more than the value of their card
  • On average, the recipient will spend 20% more than their gift card value
  • 90% of gift cards are used within the first 60 days

When it comes to unused gift cards, roughly $1 billion went unspent last year, according to That’s a lot of money!

According to, there are some things you can do with your unwanted gift cards:

  • Regift it: Give the card to a family member or friend who could use it
  • Sell it: There are many websites that will buy your unwanted gift cards. Just search “sell gift cards”
  • Donate it: Give the gift card to a religious organization, food bank or school, or search for “donate gift cards”

I thought donating gift cards was a good idea, so I’m going to donate a few that I know I won’t use.

Did you receive or buy gift cards? What do you do with the ones you may not want? Let me know!

Thanks, and have a great day!

42 thoughts on “Redeeming Gift Cards”

  1. I use all of my gift cards. Family and friends know where we eat and shop. We just used a gift card we have had for over three years to a very fine dining steakhouse. Due to illness we were not able to use but did this week for our 58th Anniversary on Valentine’s Day. It was awesome. Thanks for sharing your suggestions. This will be of much help to those who do not know the information. God bless! What an Act Of Kindness👵🏻❤👴🏻🙏🏻

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this information about unused gift cards. I honestly haven’t thought much about this, but this blog entry changed that! 👍🏼

  3. Yes I loved getting that gift card I was able to Buy my Family Christmas Gifts it was Our Granddaughters First Christmas and We were able to get all her gifts!! We spent all the Gift card and have shredded it! Thank You For It!! Wendi P.

  4. I wish that we were able to scan gift cards. Unfortunately we can’t. This year more than ever I gave gift cards for birthdays & Christmas & I could not scan those as gifts that I purchased.
    Perhaps in the future we will be able to do it!

  5. People know me. If I’m expecting a gift around my birthday or the holidays, I always let them know what gift cards to get me. If I get more than one of the same type, it doesn’t matter because they’re my favorites, and I can use them whenever I want. Also, I’m known to ask people what types of cards they like before I buy them one for a gift. I usually ask them to list about four of their favorites, and I surprise them with one of them. So far, I haven’t had any problems receiving or giving gift cards!

  6. I took my gift cards and purchased items for the homeless with them. Then I made up various gift baskets, hygiene kits, blankets rolls/with pillows, etc. and distributed them amongst our local shelters. This way I was able to help the needy and help myself with tax deductions!

  7. Rarely do I buy gift card for myself, however, I do buy them for friends or family when I have know idea what they desire for a present.

  8. There are also places you can get cash for your unused or cards you don’t want. You don’t get face value but more than getting nothing!

    1. I like getting gift cards and everyone knows where we eat etc.
      I know you can win gift cards through NCP
      Question- what are the chances of ever winning one. Never had any luck so I stick to points

  9. I am religious at using any gift cards I receive. I almost never buy at full price – I use the after market even to fund my own regular purchases- often saving 10-20%! Groceries, clothing, coffee, home improvement, eating out and more! It all adds up.

  10. We actually do the majority of all of our shopping using gift cards. The kids school has a scrip program which retailers give a certain percentage back to the school. A lot of large retailers actually do a instant scrip so we can order just as we head out the door or even order from the scrip company’s mobile app while shopping. Eliminates the use of credit and debit cards and fir is actually puts more control over our spending and best of all gives something back to the school and helps reduce tuition. Win Win Win!

  11. I very rarely buy them; usually only if the recipient wishes for them. I have received some and always used them (except for one) since they usually were for Walmart, so I use them for getting gas for my vehicle. If I buy one for someone that didn’t ask for it, then I usually buy one for Walmart or HEB (local grocery store with gas station) that they can either buy something in the store or buy gas with it which is actually a 3 cents saving over advertised price per gallon when you use the gift cards.

  12. I received a print out from the computer as a gift card for Amazon..I very rarely shop at Amazon. Can I sell this at sell it . Com

  13. Last year, one of our sons gave us a gift card to a restaurant that we would probably have never gone to without it. Now it’s one of our favorites. We didn’t get one this year…must have been more naughty than nice I guess.

  14. I received a gift card visa for a random drawing from ncp but was really surprised that it was only good at certain stores. That sometimes made it difficult to use. Other visa gift cards are good wherever thay accept visa.

    1. Hi, Judy. Yes, unfortunately the card is only good at certain stores. While the list of participating stores is long, we’re sorry that you found the card difficult to use.

  15. I do not buy gift cards. I am 68 and I mail a physical paper check to my daughter 2-3 holidays each year. Infrequently I will be in a position to receive a gift card. On such occasions I seek/prefer a plain, one time use Visa card that will be accepted at most retailers.

  16. Many retailers (I.e. Safeway, amongst many others) now include coin star exchange kiosk’s where you can trade any unwanted gift cards for cash instantly. All you need is a valid id, gift card from one of their 150+ retail partners, and you’re all set!

  17. I spend the money that I receive on the Gift Cards that I know I will not be buying
    any merchandise for myself from and use them to buy clothing or other items for
    individuals that are working a places that i volunteer at who my be having babies,

    Carol B.

  18. I spend the money that I receive on the Gift Cards that I know I will not be buying
    any merchandise for myself from and use them to buy clothing or other items for
    individuals that are working a places that i volunteer at who my be having babies,

    Carol B.

  19. I am still holding on to a few gift cards myself, i will donate them to this teacher i know will uuse them for some of her students.

  20. I took the unwanted gift card for a National chain of grocery stores back to that grocery store and used it to buy another gift card for Amazon, a merchant that I often frequent. There was no charge for this transaction, unlike the fee I would have paid if I had sold that gift card, so it was a win-win situation.

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